Unlocking Great Potential of Ha Giang

3:58:12 PM | 13/5/2014

The northernmost province of Ha Giang seems to be more beautiful with vastly verdant hills of medicinal plants. After two years working with local farmers, Binh Minh Technology Trading Joint Stock Company has covered the hills here with medicinal herbs, vegetables and other crops. The company has created jobs and incomes for local farmers and importantly contributed to the economic development of Ha Giang province. Indeed, the company’s model can be also applied to other northern mountainous provinces. Binh Minh Company is the first company of Vietnam to build material zones for growing medicinal plants.
Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Sai Minh Dao, Chairman of Binh Minh Company, to reassess results achieved in medicinal herb, fruit and vegetable development in the locality. Hoang Tinh reports.
How do you assess the role and significance of developing fruit, vegetable and medicinal herb areas in Ha Giang province to the development of Binh Minh Company?
2012 marked a breakthrough milestone when Binh Minh decided to invest to grow medicinal plants, fruits and vegetables in the province of Ha Giang. Our surveys showed that the province has very good conditions and advantages for agricultural development, especially medicinal plants. Climate and soil conditions are suitable for subtropical medicinal plants, including many locally unique varieties, like panax pseudoginseng, radix angelicae sinensis, artichoke, codonopsis pilosula, safflower, scutellaria baicalensis, and astragalus.
Before making the big investment in Ha Giang, Binh Minh has grown vegetables, and fruits in accordance with Vietnam-GAP standards in Soc Son district (Hanoi City), Thuan Thanh district (Bac Ninh province) and Cu Chi district (Ho Chi Minh City.)
With the goal of becoming a leading producer of organic medicinal plants according to the Good Agricultural and Collection Practices of the World Health Organisation (GACP-WHO) in Vietnam by 2020 and serving domestic and global markets, Binh Minh defines that Ha Giang province is a primary and strategic source of medicinal herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Would you be kind enough to tell us some results of the project?
With the enthusiastic support of all-tier governments in Ha Giang province, Binh Minh together with local farmers, with the support of high tech, grows medicinal herbs, vegetables and fruits on the hills. To date, the company has developed three farms with a total area of 500 ha in Quyet Tien commune (Quan Ba district), Chieu Lau Thi - Thu Ta commune (Xi Man district), and Ho Thau commune (Hoang Su Phi district). Till mid- 2014, Binh Minh will grow medicinal plants in four other areas in Yen Minh, Meo Vac, Dong Van and Bac Quang districts, also covering about 500 ha. In addition, the company was also assigned to manage thousands of hectares of forestland in Ha Giang province and it can plant medicinal herbs under the forest canopy.
With its good collaborative relations with scientific research institutions in Vietnam and abroad, Binh Minh has managed to apply the latest scientific achievements to agricultural production, selection, tendering, preservation, processing and consumption of medicinal materials in Ha Giang. Currently, the company has planted more than 100 varieties of medicinal herbs in different scales. Some varieties are taken from the locality and many are acclimatised. Fourteen varieties grown in large areas, including artichoke, angelica dahurica, angelicae sinensis, and herba geranii, have been harvested and replanted in 2014 and subsequent years. The company is completing and closing its value chain from planting to processing and sale. The revenue from medicinal herbs on a hectare is over VND100 million, more than doubling the value of farming, thus helping the province to reduce poverty more quickly.
After two years, the project of Binh Minh in Ha Giang province is successful. What was the biggest problem the company faced when it carried out this project?
Binh Minh Company accumulated valuable experience when it invested in growing pharmaceutical plants in the country’s six poorest districts (30A districts) and Bac Quang district in Ha Giang province. This experience will help the company to deploy its future projects faster, not only in Ha Giang province but also in other northern mountainous provinces.
The company has also seen a lot of other difficulties during production process like insufficient supply sources and poor infrastructure systems, particularly traffic, electricity and watering system. People with good experience and expertise like forestry engineers and pharmacists in Ha Giang are not enough. In addition, working skills and disciplines of ethnic people are limited.
From your projects, how do you assess the investment and business environment in Ha Giang province? What should the provincial government do to better the business and investment environment to attract investors in the coming time?
I think the investment and business environment in Ha Giang is basically good. Binh Minh Company has received huge supports from provincial authorities when it invests in the province.
However, to draw more investors, Ha Giang needs to ask the central government for its special mechanisms and policies to exert a stronger pull on investors; offer more attractive tax and land incentives; streamline administrative procedures relating to investment licensing, especially in agricultural field; perfect infrastructure systems like traffic and power grid; and build vocational training centres to train workers for prospective investors. Ha Giang province has a rich potential for medicinal material development. To wake up and utilise this potential, the province needs to build medicinal plant gene conservation banks, testing centres and seedling centres to serve local businesses. By doing so, the province will become the largest producer of medicinal plants in the country.